Hard drives can fail for a number of reasons, both logical and mechanical, so the first stage in any hard drive data recovery process is to diagnose the problem. For this reason, we offer a FREE evaluation which usually takes less than 24 hours, we can then give you a quote for recovery and an estimate of how long the recovery is likely to take. The price will depend on the type of recovery needed but there are basically two types of recovery. The first and most common type of recovery is the Logical Recovery (recovery by using specialized data recovery hardware and software) and the second is a Physical Recovery (also known as a Clean Room Recovery or Mechanical Recovery) where we would need to replace internal parts of the hard drive in a clean room before recovering the data.

Free Evaluation:

This is the first stage in the data recovery process. If we are assessing a hard drive, then we test the circuit board for damage, we then look at the firmware contained on the ROM chip and on the System Area of the drive to see if there is any failure or corruption preventing the data from being accessed. Among other things, we will run a media test to determine how stable the read-write heads are and we assess the level of corruption of the data itself. Imagine that your drive has been admitted to hospital with a mystery illness and it’s our job to run tests until we can diagnose the problem!

Logical Failures:

After we have had approval to go ahead with the recovery we begin the process of accessing the data. For a hard drive this may mean replacing the circuit board, re-writing or rebuilding the drive’s firmware and then imaging the drive sector by sector. Each hard drive is made up of sectors of data. If any of those sectors have corrupted data, we have the ability to change the way our equipment accesses the data by using algorithms to solve reading issues. A modern 1TB hard drive has almost 2 billion sectors, this is why data recovery can take a few days. The reason that we always produce an image of your drive is so that we can work to recover and rebuild the data from the image and not directly from your drive, it’s the only source of your data and it’s already in an unstable condition otherwise it would still be working! At Desert Data Recovery we use PC-3000 UDMA’s, which are ‘state of the art’ data recovery hardware and software combinations, commonly acknowledged in the data recovery industry as cutting edge in terms of their ability to repair and recover data from hard drives.

Physical Failures:

If, during the evaluation, we find that the hard drive has a mechanical issue that prevents us from accessing data, then the drive will be assessed in our Class 10 Clean Room. This is a dust free environment where we can open the hard drive and replace damaged parts so that we can recover your data. As an example, the read/write heads within your drive ride above the platters (discs) on a bearing of air. This bearing of air is nanometers thick (that’s billionths of a meter). Even a fingerprint or a smoke particle caught under the read/write heads would cause significant damage to the very delicate read-write heads. That’s why we have invested in our clean room facility.


Once we have resolved all the issues and have access to your data, we will send you a secure link to a list of the files that we are able to recover from your drive, so that you can make sure your critical data is there. Once you have confirmed that you’re happy with the recovered data, we save your data onto your target drive (such as an external hard drive). We also keep a copy of your data on file for 14 days, allowing you time to complete a backup, or just in case something happens to your data on your way home or back to work!

Here are some interesting facts about a hard drive:

  • The Average Life of a Desktop Hard Drive is 5 Years.
  • The Average Life of a Laptop or External Hard Drive is 3 Years.
  • Drives Fail Due to
    • Overheating
    • Shock (dropping the PC or Laptop)
    • Electrical Failure / Surge
    • Poor Manufacturing
    • Bad Parts in the Manufacturing Process
    • Corruption
    • Viruses
    • Fire / Water Damage
    • Operator Error

The good news is at Desert Data Recovery, we successfully recover data from failed hard drives every day.

If you have a failed hard drive, take our advice and follow the steps detailed below to minimize your data loss:

  • ​Turn off your desktop immediately – continued operation can cause greater damage
  • Do not turn your computer off and on again hoping it will fix itself
  • Do not install or re-install any software or hardware
  • Do not take it apart, open or attempt to clean a damaged drive
  • Do not use DIY recovery software to repair a damaged drive, especially if it’s making noises
  • Do not try to turn on, clean or dry a wet or muddy drive, call for help
  • Do not try to operate a visibly damaged hard drive. Allow the experts to help you out.


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